Friday, April 17, 2009

Why Don’t We Make a Difference?

I was having a conversation the other night with a Honduras mission trip alum at Perspectives and he was asking a very good question. The teacher that night was Bobby Gupta and he was kind of giving us a Christian pep talk. He was telling us how Evangelical Christianity is growing faster than any other religion and how many churches had been planted and how many people were coming to believe the gospel. These are very good things to know, it's nice to know that the movement you belong to is vibrant and growing, but my friend was asking the question "why don't we make a difference?" Dr. Gupta was kind of addressing this question, but not really and my friend really wanted to know where the meat was. Pep talks are good I said, but it's like a battle. We can get the soldiers really fired up and encouraged, but if you don't give them weapons, they're gonna lose the battle.

Then it hit me. In one of my great moments of bullcraptitude I conjured a truly profound thought. I said "We live in a culture where everyone is either spiritual but not religious or religious but not spiritual." The difference is one of those groups will readily admit it, the other one wont.

Let us explore. On one hand are the religious, the typical white Anglo Saxon protestant Christian conservative republican. On the other hand you have the typically non-religious educated yuppie liberal who still believes in some form of spirituality whether it be an eastern philosophy or Crossing Over with John Edward. Yes I know there are other hands here, but keep with me.

Why are the Christians not making a difference in this country? A recent event speaks to this, at least in my mind. A few days ago, thousands of people lined up at various ponds and lakes and threw tea bags in the water. They were protesting taxes, all good and fine, but so many of them had signs protesting taxes in God's name. I believe the when Jesus was asked about whether or not to pay taxes, he said "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's." He didn't say "F*** Caesar, don't give that m0~#&* f@(&#$ a g@& d@!* thing!"

Why aren't we fighting poverty? Why aren't we caring for unwed mothers? Why aren't we feeding the hungry? These are all things that Jesus explicitly wanted us to do, he never said anything about fighting taxes. Forget the blessed money; if Jesus wants you to have money, there isn't a tax on earth that can take it away from you. These are the things this country needs. In other countries they need clean water to drink before you can tell them about the gospel, they need food in their bellies before they can listen to stories about Jesus. In this country, we have food, we have water, what people need is for someone to care about them, to care for them, to love them.

That's why American Christians don't make a difference, because the only difference between them and the guy in the car next to them in traffic is that they go to church on Sunday or Saturday or they have a fish with no legs on the back of the car. The reason why American Christians don't make a difference is because there is no difference. There just is no difference.

I'm not trying to float my own boat, but those of you who know me, you know, there is a difference and it's not the difference you'd expect. There is a difference because I choose to be more like them than I do you. And believe me, I know, you don't take all that kindly to it, and I am willing to bear that burden. But I will live what I believe, because I'm not religious in that I'm not a republican, but I am spiritual because I am a Jesus Freak. Christianity is not a religion, you don't just do and believe stuff and are a Christian, signing a piece of paper doesn't make it so and answering an alter call has no effect.

You meet Jesus. And when you meet Jesus you are a Christian. You have to meet Jesus.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Are you Gay or just Lazy?

It has come to my attention recently that the conservative right has been hounding issues related to homosexuality. You know, the good old ones like gay marriage, gay rights, and I'm not sure, but I think they may just want all the gay people to move away to somewhere.

As a Christian, I have a few problems with hounding gays. Firstly, homosexuality is listed in the Bible somewhere around 12-16 times (not sure exactly, I've found evidence for both, but for the sake of argument, I'll go with 16.) However laziness is mentioned a bunch more. So who should we be going after?

Secondly, the idea of a Christian using a governmental position to attack anyone or otherwise attacking anyone at all seems a bit foreign to me. Jesus never attacked sinners, he never said "Hey you prostitutes, I'm gonna outlaw yer business." No, he hung out with them, he love them and he told them not to do it anymore.

And what's this crap about a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? What is this crap? This is ridiculous. You want to take what our most important document and spray horse $h!t all over it by putting that nonsense in there? It's ponderous. It's frakkin' ponderous. Again, Christians don't control or attack other people. This kind of thing gets me incensed. Jesus told us to go into the world and teach what we were taught. The only people who Jesus attacked were religious professionals who were doing a $h!tty job of what God put them in charge of. Real Christians let people do what ever they want, and if they want to take it in the butt, that's what they want to do. We are supposed to be there to help bring people out of sin, not to force them to not sin.

And why gay marriage anyway? What's the big deal? They're already gay for frak sake. It's like saying "You got a car but I'm not going to give you a drivers license!" How exactly does that work, you'll drive it anyway. And they say it ruins heterosexual marriages. Wrong, selfish straight people ruin heterosexual marriages. That's facts.

Here's a well reasoned idea for you to ponder. I've thought about this for a long time. Marriage is a religious ceremony. Marriage is between you and your spouse and God. Government and religion should be separate. Therefore, government should have no control whatsoever over marriage. It should not decide who gets married, or how many, or what gender, or what species. It's between you and God, not you and uncle Sam. If your church wants to marry Chuck and Larry and you don't like it, then find a different church. As far as legally, a company should not be required to provide any benefits to your spouse. Your spouse doesn't work there. If they do, it should be a simple perk, something to draw you to the job or to keep you there. And if you have eight wives and your company likes you so much that it will provide benefits for all of them, then by all means you should stay at that company, because I sure ain't gonna have that kind of benefit at my company.

One more time, it is completely nonsense that Christians should by trying to control people through political means. This is why we have separation of church and state, and not just so that the church doesn't control the state, but also the other way around. Corruption travels both ways.

Sorry for the swearing, I need to blog more often to keep the anger down.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quid Est Veritas?

My sincere apologies for not writing lately, I have been either very busy or alternately too tired to blog, but since I've not had much of a release in this respect lately, my intellect is about to explode out of my head and start taking hostages.


What is truth?

There's a guy who teaches at our church some times, especially in front of youth. Lately he's had the habit of getting up and prefacing his message with claim that he's "bringin' the truth." This bugs me, alot. Now I can't just sit down and enjoy the message, I have to pick through everything he says and point out every tiny thing that he says that is either not true or questionable. I can't enjoy the sermon anymore. Thanks alot you arrogant so and so.

The thing is, what he's giving me is not the truth per se, it's his version of the truth. It's the truth as he sees it. It is not THE TRUTH simply because he says it is. I see this kind of thing in conservative circles all the time. Just because something believes in absolute truth, they automatically think they have it.

There is absolute truth, but I'll guaran-d***-tee it, you aren't in possession of it. You can't be. You're human. Even if someone told you the truth, the absolute truth, you'd mess it up somehow before you could repeat it. You're human.

When I tell you something, it goes without saying that what I am telling you is the truth, so far as it is known to me. But I'm not going to preface my "truth" by saying that it is the truth. Remember, it's the people who say they are honest that you should look out for. I believe what I am saying is the truth, just as I do about what I'm saying now, but you should evaluate it for yourself to see if it is really the truth. Because when someone says "I'm telling the truth," my first reaction is "no you're not." Wrong or right, that's the way it is.

But back to absolute truth. I just want to recapitulate the idea that though there is absolute truth, your and my grasp of it is finite. I love to listen to Rob Bell, but he has this curious habit of making small mistakes when explaining scientific things. So I'm watching and going "hmm, yes, good research, that's an interesting idea, oh, I think he messed that one up a bit, that's interesting, I never thought about it that way, etc.

I also hate April Fool's Day. Do you know why? Because I hate lying with an ever-burning passionate hatred. So I wake up and my wife tells me she's pregnant, and there goes the day. Sojourners says that Rush Limbaugh is singing a different tune, and the anger wells up inside me. Then JDizzle's phone rings and he says his wife is going into labor, and I'm about fit to be tied. My new favorite TV show? Lie to me.

Did I pull any AFD jokes on anyone? Absolutely not. I used to be a liar, I don't do that anymore. Not for the holiday, not for anyone. That's not who I am anymore. And I am absolutely disgusted with people who claim to have the truth, because they don't. Sure it's the truth that something may be on the left and something else may be on the right, but if you turn around, it's all screwed up.

Moral of the story, don't tell me you are giving me the truth, and I won't doubt your credibility.